With NFL owners currently in New York and trying to figure out which team(s) will move to Los Angeles, a push-and-pull has emerged between the Rams and St. Louis.
St. Louis struck the first blow, with the well-timed announcement that National Car Rental has committed to buying the naming rights for the stadium that would allow Missouri to keep ownership of the Rams. The Rams have responded (or at least benefited from coincidence), with St. Louis Magazine (via Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Journal) reporting that the proposed stadium would cost taxpayers $215 million more than previously believed.
That’s the kind of thing that can get the attention of politicians, especially at a time when the national mood has changed dramatically regarding the concept of subsidizing stadiums for sports teams owned by billionaires. If (as the thinking goes) Rams owner Stan Kroenke, one of the richest men in the world, is going to pay for his own stadium in Los Angeles, why shouldn’t he pay for his own stadium in St. Louis?
The mentality actually helps Kroenke, because he doesn’t want taxpayer money to shackle him to St. Louis. He wants to pay for his own stadium — and he also wants to pick the location for it.
While the information came to St. Louis Magazine via an open records request, the timing suggests that someone specifically selected the two-day window of October 6-7 to drop the news, in the hopes of throwing a wrench into the plan by some owners to let the Chargers move to San Diego and to keep the Rams in St. Louis, with a new stadium partially funded by taxpayers.
If that extra $215 million keeps the St. Louis stadium from being built, it becomes a lot harder to keep the Rams in St. Louis. Which makes it easier for Kroenke to keep his L.A. plan on track.